Today was a fantastic way to end the term and a wonderful example of girls championing girls.
No matter what house you belonged to, how old you were or who was in your friendship group, today that was irrelevant. The level of encouragement provided to all participants and competitors was outstanding.
Research shows that healthy levels of competition can have a positive effect on self-esteem, life satisfaction and motivate people to work harder toward their goals. However, our cultural norms and the media often promote competition and comparison between girls and women that is not as positive.
It is important for girls to realise they all face similar struggles. You don’t like being judged… neither does the girl you judged walking to her locker yesterday. You want to be the best… well so does she.
In Dr Kirstin Ferguson and Catherine Fox’s book Women Kind they talk about “shine theory” which was first coined by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman. Ann’s personal motto is “I don’t shine unless you shine”, which is effectively about women supporting women, or in our case girls supporting girls.
Taylor Farmer in her article #StandBesideHer: 10 Ways Women Can Support Girls Every Day lists some valuable ways that women and girls can support other girls to shine, some of which are listed below.
1. Give compliments of substance.
Often, the compliments we give and receive are based on physical features alone. Compliment a young woman for her achievements. Tell a girl that she’s got a bright future. And celebrate when others do well! Compliments based on merit send a stronger message and carry more meaning.
2. Be a role champion for other girls and young women in your life.
Tell her she can accomplish her goals and wherever possible help her get there. As girls develop their sense of self, decide who they are and set their sights on who they want to become, foster environments that support them and be their biggest champions.
3. Express gratitude.
In our fast-paced society, it can be easy to take gifts and actions for granted. Uplift those in your life who are helpful and kind by saying thank you! Studies have shown expressing gratitude can make you feel more optimistic, increase your self-esteem and generally make you feel happier. Challenge all the negative and damaging stuff with optimism and gratitude.
4. Commit a random act of kindness.
Being kind to girls is always valuable and can truly brighten someone’s day.
5. Watch your words and avoid negative terms
Monitor your comments about yourself, the girls in your life and even famous or notable women. Lead by example and show women and girls how to build others up, not tear them down.
6. Send positive messages on social media.
With so much negativity in the world, use platforms to spread positivity. Too often, social media can lead us to conflate “likes” with value—or worse, become vehicles for harassment and abuse. Challenge those ideas with thoughtful comments and good vibes.
Remember by supporting other girls to shine, you are not diverting attention away from yourself but rather demonstrating that you are a supportive team player, an emerging leader and confident enough in yourself to praise others.
Enjoy a well-deserved break and I look forward to catching up with everyone in Term 2.
Deputy Principal - Students